Thursday, May 29, 2014

May 2014 Poetry Challenge Winners


The May judge was Caroline Johnson, President of Poets and Patrons of Chicago. She selected first, second and third place poems. It is interesting that the first and third place poems had the same abstract title. They are very different, though. The first place poem is a Pantoum; the second and third place poems are both free verse. Here is the first place winner:


Sunlight on spring day promises something new.
Whisper of warm wind chases memories of snow,
leaving bird song to console
calls for life to begin.

Whisper of warm wind chases memories of snow.
buds of green and blossoming leaves
call for life to console,
graced by light, a new day.

Buds of green and blossoming trees
color the land around me green
graced by light, a new day,
with great joy I recall.

Color the land around me green
enriches weary visions.
With great joy I recall
the many seasons I’ve known.

Enriches weary visions I’ve known
I call this spring a time of my own,
the many seasons I’ve known
when warm winds  touch my soul.

~ Mike Bayles

The judge commented that “the title is abstract, yet the poem itself doesn’t tell us, it “shows” us appreciation through rich imagery and concrete details such as “buds of green and blossoming trees.” The content works well as a Pantoum.

Second place went to the following poem:


All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
Couldn’t put beauty on the map.
Beauty is truth and truth is beauty.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
All men seek beauty—
It is said the two words most said by men before making love is:
“You’re beautiful,”
And yet no one knows what it is.
The destroyer of strong men and their horses,
The fields of flowers go on
But the men and their horses are gone,
Until the next trip.

Julianne Carlile

The judge found this poem intriguing, and said, “I love the concept.”

The third place poem is about gardening:


Cold wet knees on knobby ground
The irritating whine of a mosquito
Thick smear of mud on my cheek
From my missed swipe at the flying demon

When did gardening become painful?
An aching back; tight shoulders
Knowing it will be less painful to stay put
Than to rise

Then…. in one moment……
A slanting flash of brilliant sun
Illuminates my tulips
Into dancing flames of red and yellow

I see their beauty against the sapphire sky
I smell the earth
I feel the sun
And smile

~ Mary Cohutt

The judge said, “"Wonderful concrete details to describe the art of gardening, and good abstract word for the title.  You do a good job of “showing” the reader what you are trying to convey without “telling” him or her.  Love the line “dancing flames of red and yellow.”  I can also feel your pain (and I don’t really garden!).

Bios of the winners:

Mike Bayles, a lifelong Midwest resident, writes about different kinds of human connections, including connections with nature. His poetry publishing credits include The Rockford Review, Lyrical Iowa and Coffee-Ground Breakfast. Threshold his first book of poetry, was the 2013 Book of the Year for Rockford Writers Guild. See Mike's website at

Julianne Carlile is a poet, author, and screenwriter who lives with her long-haired Chihuahua, Nicky, in Wisconsin. See her poetry at

Mary Cohutt is a Leasing Consultant from Western Massachusetts. She also has her own business, "The Good Daughter," which provides business assistance to older people.  She has two adult children and two grandchildren. 

Thank you to Caroline Johnson for judging the May submissions and congratulations to the winners.

Check the blog on June 1 for a new challenge.

© Wilda Morris